Little Rock Games wrapped up its Galactic Scoundrels Kickstarter project this past July with funding $10,000 over the company’s goal for its first card game. Questions about certain issues remained, however, and in September Little Rock Games inquired of the State of Arkansas Department of Finance and Taxation the answers to these:

  1. Are we required to collect sales tax on money obtained through crowdfunding?
  2. If so, at what point would sales tax be due, when the project funds or when the game ships?

In response, the Department last week issued a formal opinion [PDF] stating that, yes, sales tax is due, both on funds obtained by Little Rock Games and the 5 percent service fee collected by Kickstarter, and should have been collected at the time the project funded. According to the Department’s legal counsel, that decision was based on an understanding that Little Rock’s crowdfunding project represented a transaction in which the company was paid by backers for copies of the game.

What seems like clear guidance usable by other creators in Arkansas, however, becomes less so with further consideration. The answer to the first question “assumes all sales were made to buyers located within the State.” But as Little Rock explains in its query, the location of buyers (or their shipping destination) is not known to Kickstarter project creators at the time a project closes. On this problem, the opinion specifically declines to provide further guidance, referring instead to Arkansas Code Annotated § 26-52-521. According to that law, if a seller in good faith has neither the purchaser’s shipping destination, nor the purchaser’s billing address, nor any other physical address for the purchaser, then the location of the sale for purposes of determining whether state sales tax applies is considered the address from which the item was shipped.

What happens then if the seller doesn’t know yet at the time a project funds—as they may still be evaluating fulfillment services and other options—where will be the shipping point of origin?

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesWielding a screwdriver, a robber in Osaka Prefecture, Japan stole $450,000 of Shogi game pieces from a manufacturer’s exhibit space. The man threatened an employee with the screwdriver, tied them up, and smashed the glass display cases. Forty sets of Shogi pieces were taken, some made of expensive boxwood.

Lucasfilm and Ren Ventures are in court arguing over trademark rights for the word “SABACC” in relation to card games. SABACC was supposedly the card game that Han Solo and Lando Calrissian were playing when Han won the Millennium Falcon. But that was just an imaginary game from Star Wars. Ren later produced a card game app with the same name and registered the trademark in Europe. Neither has a registered trademark in the United States.

In Bathurst, Australia, a man was arrested by police for threatening to bash a woman’s car with a mattock unless she agreed to return his board game or pay him $60.

In December, we were hopeful that the selection of Saudi Arabia as hosts for the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships represented a diplomatic milestone between the Kingdom and the State of Israel. Unfortunately, while Saudi Arabia did grant visas to players from Iran and Qatar (with whom the country also lacks diplomatic relations), they refused to permit players from Israel to attend. Even more disappointing, though, is the complicity of FIDE [PDF], which refused to stand up for the principles it claims to represent. Instead, the organization was satisfied with changing the name of the event to the King Salman, Peace and Friendship tournament and the promise that things would be better next year.

Organizers of the next World Chess Championship (November 11-30 in London) revealed a logo for the event that’s being called vulgar and inappropriate. World Chess says that the controversy was intentional, a way to shake up the staid world of Chess.

After discovering that a Magic: The Gathering tournament judge had been convicted of a sex crime, Wizards of the Coast has instituted a new policy requiring background checks. The requirement applies to all personnel who interact with the public on behalf of Wizards Play Network stores and tournament organizers.

Herrick Productions is suing Mattel, claiming that the toy maker stole their idea for a reality TV show. Herrick claims that it proposed a show called Playmakers, in which people submit their toy and game inventions to a panel of judges and the winner would be produced and sold by Mattel. The company did not go with Playmakers but did launch The Toy Box with a similar concept—the panel of judges in this case being children.

In the case of Shlasinger and Gerardi vs. Yarrington and Myriad Games over a failed Staten Island game shop, a federal court jury found breach of contract by the defendant [PDF] but awarded the plaintiff zero dollars in damages.

Arbiters at a Chess tournament in Spain searched an amateur participant playing above his rating and found an electronic device that looked kind-of like a television remote control. As a result, the player was ejected from the competition.

The World Cube Association has decided to outlaw all Rubik’s Cubes with logos from blindfolded solving attempts. The organization received complaints about logos on overlay stickers influencing the results of recent world record solves of 4×4 and 5×5 puzzles. Though the WCA ruled that those specific results would stand, it made the change going forward.

A doctor in Heilongjiang Province, China was fired after she was caught on video playing Mahjong on her phone while at the same time operating a CT scanner.

Police in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia arrested 46 people at an illegal Mahjong parlor where gambling was taking place.

Police in Cebu City, Philippines arrested five for operating an illegal gambling den that hosted Mahjong and Poker.

A Mahjong parlor employee was arrested in Tokyo for accosting a regular customer in the elevator and attempting to rob the elderly woman of her bag. The assailant ran away empty-handed when the woman resisted but later admitted to the crime.

In Singapore, police arrested a man for throwing things out the 16th floor window of his apartment building, including a Mahjong table that landed on a playground.

Northumbria police are asking for the public’s help in finding the person who assaulted a man playing Dominoes inside a Houghton-le-Spring, UK social club.

A Cicero, Illinois man is in custody for allegedly shooting his girlfriend 11 times during a game of Dominoes.

Shootings associated with dice games took place in Atlanta and Newnan, Georgia; Beaumont, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Louis, Missouri; and South Bend and Indianapolis, Indiana. In Glendale, Wisconsin, a man was beat up at a dice game. In Gary, Indiana, a man is wanted by police for sexually assaulting a woman after a dice game.

Four youths were playing dice and gambling in the basement lounge of a Cleveland recreation center when a gun in the pocket of a 13 year old accidentally went off. No one was injured and everyone in the room left the scene before police arrived. On surveillance video, though, police noticed that another person in the room also was carrying a gun.

When accused of trying to use counterfeit $20 bills to buy lottery tickets, a man in Fort Wayne, Indiana said that he had just picked them up as winnings in a dice game.

An elementary school teacher and Chess coach in Flagstaff, Arizona was arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor. A second charge of child molestation was later added.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with games

Sportsmanship

Berlin police say that a local restaurant owner has been using radioactive Iodine-125 to mark playing cards. Radioactive card fragments were detected during routine inspection of a garbage truck at a waste treatment plant, then traced back to their point of origin.

After detector dogs triggered on mail being sent to Manawatu Prison in New Zealand, guards opened the package to find Chess pieces stuffed with cannabis.

A court in Italy has suspended three Chess players, one Grandmaster and two International Masters, for offering to throw games at the Montebelluna Chess Festival for 200€ a game. One of the suspended players, who also helped organize the tournament, had even bragged on Facebook about how easy it would be to buy a game.

In Jiangsu province, China, a Mahjong player was stabbed by his opponent after being caught using rigged tiles to cheat. The Mahjong tiles were fitted with electronic chips that sent a signal to an accomplice, who then relayed the information via small earpieces worn by the player.

Allan Simmons, a prominent British Scrabble player—former U.K. national champion and author of Scrabble books—has been banned from the game for 3 years. An investigation by the World English Language Scrabble Players Association found multiple instances of cheating confirmed by witnesses. He is said to have been looking at tiles as he drew them and returning unwanted tiles back to the bag. [In tournament settings, players are supposed to show empty hands to their opponents before reaching in to the bag, and to draw new tiles while holding the bag above eye level.]

Another Scrabble cheat was caught in Thailand. Pichai Limprasert was banned until June 2018 by the country’s national association. Pichai, long a decent player, experienced rapid improvement in the first half of last year, rising suddenly to rank as Thailand’s number one player. But at the Brands Kings Cup in Bangkok (July 2016), he was spotted sneaking an extra tile from the bag. Allowed to finish that tournament, he was afterward suspended for 3 months and given a warning. Then in February of this year, he entered and won a university level tournament, despite not being registered anywhere as a student. Thus the new suspension.

Police in Las Vegas arrested a man from Georgia (the country) and have charged him with 18 counts of cheating by sliding dice (instead of rolling them). The same person was previously caught using rigged dice at a Backgammon tournament in Normandy, France in 2008.

Four players were disqualified during recent high-level Magic: The Gathering tournaments: one for drawing too many cards, one for lying to a judge, one for having too many energy counters on a card, and one for looking at cards in his deck when he shouldn’t have.

A potential world-record solving of the Rubik’s Cube was invalidated by the World Cube Association because the cube used was not approved.

In Denver, an argument over a Chess game turned violent when one of the players shot the other twice with a .22 caliber handgun.

In Pensacola, Florida, police arrested a man for allegedly using brass knuckles on someone to whom he had just lost a game of Dominoes.

Magic: The Gathering judges in the Philippines are boycotting a local game store because at a recent tournament, the shop’s owner declared a player’s game forfeit for showing up late. That ruling was consistent with the judges’ policy but not within the sponsor’s authority.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the game of Bridge should not be considered a sport. The question came up in a case brought by the English Bridge Union, which sought to have its tournament fees exempt from VAT. Notwithstanding agreement that Bridge is played competitively and “constitutes an activity beneficial to the mental and physical health of regular participants”, the court determined that the ordinary meaning of the term “sport” refers to an activity “characterised by a not negligible physical element.” Still, the court allowed that European member states have the discretion to exempt such non-sport activities from VAT under allowances for “cultural services”.

Diversity

For Scrabble Day at Bel Air High School in Maryland, several students used letter tiles attached to their shirts to spell out racial slurs. The participating students have been disciplined and the incident has prompted further discussion (and argument) in the community about racism.

A popular cosplayer of Magic: The Gathering characters announced she was quitting everything Magic after suffering repeated harassment. Shortly thereafter, WOTC announced that it was investigating, would review its Code of Conduct, and will work with organizers to be more proactive in setting expectations for events.

A former employee of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is suing the organization alleging that she was fired for “gender non-conforming appearance and behavior.”

Dress codes for Chess tournaments became the hot topic after the World Chess Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia, where Canadian Grandmaster Anton Kovalyov withdrew mid-event because he felt bullied for wearing shorts. Zurab Azmaiparashvili, who was not only the chief organizer but also a member of the Appeals Committee, allegedly used a cultural slur in referring to Kovalyov’s mode of dress. The Chess Federation of Canada sought to have the World Chess Federation’s Ethics Commission address the incident but Kovalyov would not cooperate, so the Commission dropped the case.

Selecting Saudi Arabia as host for the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) drew quick condemnation and threatened boycotts based on the kingdom’s human rights record. Following up on that initial announcement, though, FIDE clarified that women will not be required to wear a hijab or abaya, supposedly the first time for any sport competition in Saudi Arabia. The question remains whether players from Iran, Israel, and Qatar will be allowed to participate. A FIDE official told Reuters that the organization is undertaking huge efforts on behalf of Israeli players. Despite that, some of Israel’s top players have said they will not attend anyway.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Chess Association has established a women’s section, another first for sport in the country. The group is working to establish several women-only tournaments.

Dorsa Derakhshan, the teenage Chess player who was banned earlier this year by the Iranian Chess Federation for refusing to wear a hijab, will now be playing for the United States.

Business

Nearly 2 years after being countersued by Hasbro and Reuben Klamer, Lorraine Markham is finally getting her first day in court to argue for rights to The Game of Life. She claims that her deceased husband invented the game. Hasbro and Klamer, however, insist that Bill Markham was only paid to mock up a prototype board. Though the lawsuits were filed in Rhode Island, this initial hearing will take place in California to accommodate several witnesses of advanced age.

Irish celebrity twins Jedward have settled with Limerick businessman Patrick Joseph Noonan a court case in which the latter claimed he was owed 625,000 € for failed merchandising deals, including one for a Jedward board game.

Upper Deck and Leaf are suing each other, in California and Texas courts respectively. Upper Deck claims that by producing sports cards with pieces of player jerseys, Leaf is violating the publicity rights of the players with whom Upper Deck has exclusive contracts. [What basis that gives Upper Deck to sue is unclear.] Leaf, in its suit filed a day later, claims that Upper Deck is engaging in illegal monopolistic behavior with regard to NHL hockey cards. Leaf alleges that Upper Deck pressured retailers not to carry competing Leaf products and insisted that distributors not tell retailers why they (the distributors) didn’t carry Leaf cards (thus implying they were inferior).

Politics & Religion

Some Transformers fans figured out that symbols engraved on a recently-released action figure translate in the Cybertronian alphabet as “MAGA”. Alerted to this fact, Hasbro investigated and found that the divisive political statement was added by a vendor without authorization.

Voting for the Ward 5 Council seat in the city of Cripple Creek, Colorado resulted in a tie count. So, as required by law, the election was decided by lots, in this case, the high draw from a standard deck of playing cards. Melissa Trenary won with a 10 of diamonds. Her opponent pulled a 7 of clubs.

The treasurer of the Singapore Chess Federation, whose political conflicts have appeared in this column before, is suing 39 fellow members, claiming defamation in a letter they circulated seeking his ouster.

The Executive Board of FIDE, in a non-binding vote, has asked Kirsan Ilyumzhinov not to run for President again in 2018. After Ilyumzhinov was subject to sanctions by the U.S. government during his current term, the board earlier took away from him all authority of the position. Nevertheless, several national federations have already received from Russian embassies letters nominating Ilyumzhinov for a new term.

FIDE took more definitive action on the Bulgarian Chess Federation, temporarily kicking it out of the group for financial irregularities. While the national entity is excluded, individual players from Bulgaria will be able to play in international tournaments under the FIDE flag, as long as they’re able to pay their own way.

In order to put on a charitable Cribbage tournament in Maine, organizers had to get state law changed. Before passage of the new law this past summer, Cribbage was considered a game of chance and would have required expensive licensing from each of the 12 participating municipalities.

Some Irish Chess players are picketing the Limerick Chess League for blackballing another player, Gabriel Mirza. They also accuse the league of discrimination. Mirza is originally from Romania. The protesters allege that mistreatment of Mirza ties back to an incident in 2013, when he accosted a teenager in the restroom at a tournament for cheating with a smartphone.

A Muslim preacher in Malaysia said in a video distributed on YouTube that it is forbidden to play Checkers, Chess, Snakes and Ladders, Saidina (a Monopoly knock-off), or video games because they lead to gambling.

Property

A man in Denton, Texas reported a break-in. Stolen from his home were a laptop and $8,000 of Magic: The Gathering cards.

A 23 year old man was arrested for attempting to shoplift just over $100 (retail) of Magic: The Gathering cards from a Target in College Station, Texas.

When a stolen truck was recovered by its owner in the Columbus, Ohio area, they discovered inside hundreds of Magic: The Gathering cards belonging to the thief.

Open less than a year, Alchemy, a board game cafe in Derby, England, closed permanently after being vandalized.

Board in the City, a game cafe in Southampton was broken in to overnight. Games were stolen and a table damaged.

A real-estate agent mistook a Magic: The Gathering Facebook group, the New England Real Estate Coalition (focused on land decks), for one focused on non-game properties. Mockery ensued.

Crime

In the Northern Mariana Islands, a man with a machete and supposedly drunk attacked a group of men playing Mahjong.

A man who tried to break up a fight over a dice game in Washington Square Park in New York City was stabbed in the leg by one of those arguing.

The owner of Snap Keep Games in McHenry, Illinois was indicted for paying a 15 year old customer to perform a sex act.

In Henan Province, China, a 2 year old girl drowned when she was left outside a Mahjong parlor by her grandmother. Alone, she got to playing in a three-wheeled vehicle belonging to another Mahjong patron. With the key left inside, the girl accidentally engaged the vehicle, sending it in to a nearby pond.

Shelby County (Tennessee) officials are investigating the claims of a rap artist who says that his online video of gambling on a dice game was recorded in a local high school.

Police in Singapore raided an eighth floor apartment where illegal gambling on cards and Mahjong was taking place. They arrested 15 people.

When police in Cambodia raided a village dice game, the seven people they arrested included a military official.

Prosecutors in Taipei arrested four police officers for taking bribes from illegal Mahjong parlors.

Four men in Oakland, California were injured in a drive-by shooting that targeted their street dice game. Police know of no motive to explain the incident.

Police chasing a man from an illegal dice game in Baltimore found 11 guns in his car and one on his person.

Police in Longview, Texas arrested a man for allegedly robbing a woman of $600 at gunpoint to make up for losses he had experienced shortly before at an area dice game.

A 17 year old is under arrest in Indianapolis for shooting and killing a man who walked away from their dice game before loosing all his money. One piece of evidence against the teenager is the data from a GPS anklet he was wearing because of another case.

Police in Decatur, Illinois found a man on the street beaten and shot, and evidence nearby of a hastily abandoned dice game.

A staff member at a Nebraska youth rehabilitation center was assaulted with a sock filled with dominoes.

Police interrupted a Jonesboro, Arkansas Dominoes game to conduct a parole search. They found on the subject of their search several bags of marijuana.

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with games

Someone pilfered uncut sheets of unreleased Magic: The Gathering cards from the factory and posted them for sale online with images. The alleged thief has been arrested and the card sheets recovered. However, with card images already circulating, Wizards of the Coast has ramped up previews for the Ixalan set.

A 31 year old man from St. Cloud, Minnesota was arrested for stabbing his 20 year old Magic: The Gathering opponent seven times in the neck, and for hitting him in the head with a mallet. The suspect has a previous conviction for possession of explosives with criminal intent.

Cary Young is suing Rob Elliot in Victorian County Court (Australia) over royalties he says are owed for contributing 4,000 trivia questions to the board game Smart Ass. Young is a master at trivia who had a legendary run on the television game show Sale of the Century. Elliot, creator of the board game, was also host of Wheel of Fortune.

James Damore, the Google engineer fired by the company after circulating a memo critical of the company’s diversity policies, claims to hold the Chess rating of FIDE Master but no evidence supporting this has been found or provided.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines banned player Jomel Sinagula for life “for recidivist cheating and identity theft.” Sinagula adopted various aliases for team competitions in order to position himself against lower ranked players. Several of Sinagula’s teammates were banned for 6 month periods for collaborating with the scheme.

Chess player Fernando Alberto Braga has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport a decision by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) not to grant him the title of Grandmaster. Central to the question of Braga’s qualification is whether a rule change made in 2005 should apply to the counting of games he played in 1992 and whether his brief stint with a 2500+ rating in 1998 took place too long ago to meet the requirement.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has returned to the Ministry of Culture an antique Chess set formerly owned by Saddam Hussein and stolen in 2003.

At the 2017 Canadian Chess Championship, GM Bator Sambuev and IM Nikolay Noritsyn were in the second blitz game of a tiebreak series to determine the winner, when Noritsyn attempting to promote his passed pawn couldn’t find a spare queen next to the board. So instead, he called out “queen” and replaced the pawn with an upside-down rook (common practice in non-tournament settings). At that point, an arbiter interrupted and ruled the upside-down piece to be a rook, not a queen, noting the presence of a queen there at the side of the board. Later review of video recorded at the tournament, however, revealed that at the time Noritsyn was looking for the queen piece, it was in the hand of his opponent.

Effective July 1 under the FIDE Laws of Chess it became illegal to make a move with two hands (such as when castling or promoting a pawn). Making such a move has the potential to cost a player the game, though in several high-profile games (including the Canadian one mentioned previously), arbiters have failed to intervene over the issue.

A burgler was caught on surveillance video breaking in to a Bronx, New York apartment and stealing board games. Police are looking for help in identifying the culprit.

Recently released government records reveal that in the mid-1990s, conflict and accusations within a San Francisco-area group of Dungeons & Dragons players triggered an investigation by the FBI. Agents were looking for the Unibomber but found just “that the typical war gaming enthusiast is overweight and not neat in appearance.”

Eighteen people were arrested for gambling at cards in Anlong Veng, Cambodia. Police in the village, known for being the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge and final resting place of Pol Pot, took the players back to the station and “educated” them on the dangers of their habit.

A Muslim Cricket player in India suffered harassment online after posting to Facebook a picture of himself playing Chess with his son. The harassers apparently side with the Muslim televangelist in Turkey who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” Several Indian Muslim clerics, though, have come to the Cricketer’s defense, saying that there is nothing wrong with playing Chess as long as gambling isn’t involved.

A homeless man was playing Chess in Union Square Park in Manhattan at 3:30 AM when three other men approached and got in to an argument with him, and then one of them stabbed him in the chest.

In Santa Monica, California’s Chess Park, two players were assaulted by a couple of homeless men, who were apparently drunk and raving about some drug dealer. “I bitched to the police about losing our beloved chess park to these roving bands of dangerous homeless, but didn’t see the point in pressing charges given the reality of our legal system.”

Rubik’s Brand Limited is suing in U.S. federal court Duncan Toys and Toys “R” Us for trademark infringement. Rubik’s claims that the appearance of Duncan’s Quick Cube puzzle, sold at Toys “R” Us, copies the trademarked design of the Rubik’s Cube without permission and will cause confusion among consumers. There is no patent claim in the suit.

To fight the counterfeiting of board games, Ad Magic and Breaking Games have started applying 3D photopolymer authentication labels to their products. The labels are produced by De La Rue, a U.K. company, and include parallax images and unique 8 digit serial numbers. The labels can even be authenticated with standard mobile apps.

Reaper Minis was dragged in, or involved itself in (depending on how you look at it), some controversial social-media postings by one of its employees. Ed Pugh, Reaper’s CEO, said that the company was “reviewing the matter and taking appropriate action,” which made other people upset that Reaper felt it should have a stake in what one of its employees said outside of the workplace.

The number of private card rooms in Texas is growing. To avoid anti-gambling laws, instead of taking a stake in the wagers, they collect membership and seat rental fees.

The World Series of Poker has been having a problem with card quality, leading to complaints by many participants about card marking, intentional and unintentional.

Police raiding a Mahjong game at a home in Cape Town, South Africa ended up arresting fourteen people for possession of shark fins and abalone.

New York City Chess school Chess at 3 is suing Hugh Kramer, one of its former instructors, claiming that he violated the terms of his employment contract by taking with him 24 students. The school is asking for $100,000 in damages.

A Chess instructor in Malaysia is facing criminal charges for allegedly groping his young charges. In Mumbai, a Chess coach was arrested for molesting a sister and brother pair of students, 10 and 7 years old. Once in custody, charges were added for beating a student aged five.

The State of Florida finally settled its dispute with the Seminole Tribe over banked card games. Tribal casinos will retain exclusive rights to run card games for another 13 years and the state will get $340 million. To enforce the bargain, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has filed administrative complaints against the Sarasota Kennel Club and Pensacola Greyhound Racing for failing to comply with rules on designated-player games in their Poker rooms.

Cantina, a bar in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was fined for hosting dice games with gambling.

The proprietor of a martial arts gym in Singapore was arrested for renting Mahjong tables and allowing gambling inside his facility.

Police believe that a man who showed up at an Annapolis, Maryland hospital with a gunshot wound had gotten in to an argument at a dice game, took a taxi home to get his gun, then took the same taxi to the hospital after he was wounded. They arrested him on weapons charges, theft, and failing to pay the cabbie.

A man returning to the scene of a dice game argument in Birmingham, Alabama, brought in the car with him a friend and his 4 year old daughter. The friend pulled a gun, so did the person they were going to see, but it was the girl and an elderly woman in another vehicle who ended up shot. The girl later died.

stray bullet originating at a dice game in Louisville, Kentucky struck and killed a 7 year old boy eating a bedtime snack in his home nearby.

The 1 year old hit by three stray bullets from a dice game shootout in Washington, D.C. survived and was, in fact, discharged from the hospital the next day.

Other dice game shootings occurred in Riverdale, Georgia; Phildelphia; Brooklyn; the BronxJacksonville, Florida; Edwardsville, Illinois; again in the Bronx; Baltimore; St. Louis; Detroit; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

A man who shot three people in a Las Vegas home over a game of Dominoes forgot his car keys when he left the scene, then pounded on the door expecting to be let back in.

A man in Hanover, Jamaica was shot and killed while playing Dominoes.

In Stratford, Connecticut, a man pulled a gun on his cousin because he thought he was being cheated at a game of Dominoes.

In High Springs, Florida, a woman shot at her husband while he was playing Dominoes in the park. Why was not revealed.

In Owatonna, Minnesota, a woman was arrested for attacking her boyfriend and other players during a game of Dominoes, with a knife and a shard of glass.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesFor tax purposes, at least, government officials in India have declared board games a luxury good and instituted for them a 28 percent import duty (versus the current weighted average of 6.5 percent). The move comes as part of a general realignment meant to replace state-level tax systems. Also defined as a luxury good in the new system is laundry detergent.

A media producer at the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza is promoting a Snakes & Ladders-like board game aimed at “strengthening children’s military culture and love of jihad.” The game is titled Reaching Jerusalem.

In Washington Parish, Louisiana, a 38 year old-man was playing a board game with his mother and girlfriend. When the two others began fighting, he joined in, grabbing his mother by the neck, throwing her to the ground, and hitting her in the head with a cast-iron frying pan. Commenting on the case, the local sheriff was quoted as saying, “It is unimaginable to think that a grown man would physically assault his mother. The biblical command to love one’s mother is not a suggestion. It is a commandment that requires an unconditional love for our parents.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland has ruled against the Bulgarian Chess Federation’s appeal of its expulsion from the European Chess Union.

FIDE first suspended the Iranian Chess Federation for failure to pay money owed the world body, then reinstated it.

A 65 year-old Chess tutor in Deerfield Beach, Florida is charged with molesting one of his 7 year-old students during a session. Before the session, he had told the student’s guardian to leave so as not to distract her.

An online Chess app was the tool by which a 52 year-old Illinois man enticed a 15 year-old Connecticut girl in to a sexual relationship. Using the app’s chat feature, he convinced her to share photos and videos of herself. Then he traveled to Connecticut to meet the girl in person. The man has pleaded guilty in federal court to use of an interstate facility to persuade a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

Supposedly, one student at West Texas A&M recorded a group of other students against their wishes while they were playing strip dice. The allegedly-recorded students complained to campus police but police declined to pursue the case further after finding no such video recordings on either the student’s phone or social media.

In Hong Kong, the janitor of a Mahjong school was sentenced to 8 months in jail for his part in a cheating scheme. He had opened the door overnight for people that came in and switched some of the school’s regular tiles for ones marked with an ink visible to those wearing special glasses. What didn’t require special glasses to see, though, and the way the scheme was caught, was that the new Mahjong tiles were made in a different color than the original ones.

A $1,000 collection of Magic: The Gathering cards was stolen from an unlocked car in Peoria, Illinois.

After leaving the LaGrange, Georgia home of two strangers with whom he was playing dice, a man was allegedly attacked by those same strangers and cut with an unknown weapon.

Shots were fired during an argument over a dice game in St. Louis. One person suffered minor injuries.

Shots fired during an argument over a dice game in Louisville, Kentucky passed through the window of a nearby home and killed a 7 year-old boy.

In Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand, an arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of shooting and killing two others during an argument over a dice game.

Punching and shoving erupted during a Dominoes game in Jamaica.

In Bridgeton, New Jersey, robbers who were rebuffed when attempting to take on a front-porch card game just after midnight decided to turn and shoot while running away. The shots hit one of the players in the leg.

In Beaumont, Texas, robbers who held up a 20-person dice game found most of the players cooperative but were refused by one 56 year-old woman, so they shot her twice.

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The Race to Number 10

For the upcoming UK general election, the Green Party has begun airing this advertisement styled on a classic board game television commercial.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesA 12 year old girl was ejected from the National Scholastic Chess Championship in Malaysia for wearing a dress whose hemline was above the knee. According to the girl’s Chess coach, an official at the event called her dress “too seductive”. The tournament’s director said that he was not there at the time but that four arbiters, including one woman, together decided that the dress was too revealing when the girl sat down. Since the allegations attracted international attention, the director has promised to sue the coach, as well as the girl’s mother, for defamation. He claims to have evidence that the picture of the dress being publicized by the coach via Facebook is fake. The whole situation is now being investigated by police.

The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office will not pursue charges against a Muslim televangelist who said that “playing Chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” The prosecutor’s office refused a complaint from the public and instead sided with the televangelist, asserting that his statements fell within his rights to freedom of thought and expression.

A 1764-rated Chess player from India was expelled from the Dubai Open after an arbiter discovered that he was hiding a mobile phone in his sleeve. The player refused to show the arbiter whether or not the phone was running a Chess program but was still expelled from the tournament because carrying a phone is against the rules.

Thieves broke in to The Realm Games in Mansfield, Ohio early on a Sunday morning and stole about $8,000 worth of merchandise. Most of the value in stolen items came from Magic: The Gathering singles. Surveillance camera footage, however, shows that one of the thieves had no idea what he was doing and grabbed boxes of regular playing cards.

A woman in Japan who also had no idea about the potential value of old Magic: The Gathering cards took the collection her grown son had left at home (which included a Black Lotus) and put them up for sale as a bundle in an online auction. Someone who realized what was going on got word to her son, who was able to stop the sale before the transaction was complete.

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a woman and her boyfriend got in to an argument over a game of Monopoly. He punched her several times and stabbed her with a box cutter. She whacked him in the head with a liquor bottle.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a woman tried to break through her roommate’s door with an ax after an argument over a game of Dominoes.

A game of Dominoes in New Orleans also erupted in an argument, whereupon one of the players went in to his house, retrieved a knife, returned to the game, and stabbed another player.

During a Minnesota House debate of a law that would increase penalties for protesters who block roads, Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman triggered a “call of the House” procedure to force the return of absent lawmakers. “I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate,” she said.

Gazdálkodj okosan is a Hungarian personal finance board game dating back to 1960. It’s manufacturer never trademarked the game’s name but did register it for copyright. When recently another party attempted to trademark a color logo for that same title, the manufacturer filed an opposition. Both the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office and Metropolitan Tribunal have now rejected the trademark opposition claim, finding that the original name lacked visual distinctiveness, nor was it sufficiently familiar to the public.

Though he only narrowly escaped ouster by the organization’s board a week before, and in the process was stripped of much of his real authority, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov promises to again run for FIDE president in 2018.

The president of the Zimbabwe Chess Federation committed suicide, jumping from the 9th floor of a building while under investigation related to his previous positions in the government.

A magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe board sold at Target has been recalled because if two pieces are swallowed they could clamp together “cause intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death.”

Upper Deck has applied for a U.S. trademark on the name “Splendor” with regard to trading cards. Can anyone think of an existing card game called “Splendor”?

In order to avoid running afoul of any gambling laws, the recently formed Poker Sports League in India does not require contestants to pay any kind of participation or entry fee or wager any money. It does, however, award cash prizes to winners. Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court is currently in the process of reviewing the status of Poker after an application by the Indian Poker Association, which seeks to halt a government campaign to shut down Poker clubs.

Senior citizens who regularly met at a community center in Richmond, British Columbia were told that their small-stakes wagering on Bridge and Poker (as in about 10¢ a chip) was illegal and would not be allowed to continue. They tried to move their games to the homes of individuals but that hasn’t worked out very well. Also, one of the group, a former police officer, claims that the wagering isn’t illegal as long as the house doesn’t claim a stake.

In Selina, Kansas, a man threatened his Walmart coworkers during an argument over a break-room card game. When he returned to the store 3 days later and threatened them again, they called police, who searched his car and found a handgun.

The robbery at gunpoint of a Jackson, Mississippi dice game resulted in the injury of two players and the death of one of the robbers. A second robber was later arrested, while police are still trying to identify the third.

An argument over a dice game inside a Harker Heights, Texas nightclub led to the shooting deaths of two men. A female suspect identified by eyewitnesses and surveillance video has surrendered to police.

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Ilyumzhinov Holds On, Barely

Those battling over the presidency of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) have, for now, settled in a face-saving measure that confirms Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as the organization’s titular President, though denied pretty much all of the position’s authority. Despite recent assertions that he had resigned, a special meeting of FIDE’s Presidential Board, conceded Ilyumzhinov the title but made formal the transfer of his powers to the Deputy President, Georgios Makropoulos. With Ilyumzhinov under sanction from the United States for dealings with the Assad government in Syria, FIDE has found it increasingly difficult to land international sponsors for its events. The particularly influential Russian Chess Federation, though, continues to back Ilyumzhinov.

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Game Blotter

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesThere’s been a rash of Magic: The Gathering card thefts in the Canadian province of Alberta. Most have involved the use of stolen credit cards to purchase Magic cards at local game shops. Police suspect that the same person is responsible for the various incidents.

Someone broke in to a youth Chess center in Albuquerque and stole four laptop computers, a tablet, and cash.

A dispute has developed over the contract to translate Dungeons & Dragons for the Brazilian market. Four companies had supposedly formed a joint venture for the project but only one came away with the contract. That one says there was never a formal agreement and in regards to whatever arrangement was made, it withdrew before signing the contract with Gale Force Nine (which holds the global license for localizations). The remaining four say there definitely was an agreement, that they had started incurring expenses, and that the one company had even started paying a share.

The question of whether Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has resigned as president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) remains open. The organization’s board says he did; he says he didn’t. Pending a special board meeting scheduled for April 10th, Ilyumzhinov held a press conference where he received the public support of Andrey Filatov, president of the Russian Chess Federation. Ilyumzhinov also claims that he is the only one who can call for that special board meeting but his deputy points out that Ilyumzhinov had previously abdicated his administrative authority in favor of the deputy.

In the meantime, FIDE is also dealing with a recalcitrant Iran Chess Federation, which though it hosted the recent Women’s World Chess Championship has not yet paid out promised prizes. FIDE will pay the winners their prizes and has promised to suspend the Iran Chess Federation if it does not reimburse the world body.

Borislav Ivanov, the Bulgarian Chess player suspected (but never proven) of cheating, has been arrested for counterfeiting documents. An investigative television show caught him impersonating an official and selling fake drivers licenses. Police who arrested him added charges of counterfeiting university diplomas.

Chess grandmaster, and the last challenger for the World Chess Championship, Sergey Karjakin has joined the Civil Chamber of the Russian Federation at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. The Civil Chamber is an advisory body to Russia’s parliament.

Both the Japan Shogi Association and Nihon Ki-in (the national organization for Go) have banned electronic devices during matches as a measure to prevent cheating. The former will be taking electronic devices away from players during games. The latter will still allow them to hold on to their devices.

A federal court judge has invalidated five patents for controlling toys with sound, clearing Hasbro’s Furby toy of infringement. The judge applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling to find the patents invalid because they covered only an abstract idea.

The Ethisphere Institute has for the sixth year in a row declared Hasbro one of the world’s most ethical companies.

A U.S. federal court has decided that Irish businessman J.P. McManus can’t have his money back from the IRS. The money, $5.2 million, was withheld from $17.4 million McManus won in a Backgammon game against billionaire Alec Gores. McManus had claimed that he’s exempt from U.S. taxes under a treaty between the United States and Ireland. However, the U.S. government asserted that he’s not actually a resident of Ireland but of Switzerland.

A New Zealand man vacationing in Bali was kidnapped and forced by his abductors to wager increasingly larger stakes on a card game. He was set free after losing $2,000.

Lost in the story about an Iranian teenager banned by Iran Chess Federation for playing an Israeli during a recent tournament was the fact that arbiters at international events normally rig the pairings process to prevent such results.

In Moscow, International Women’s Day was recognized with a blondes vs. brunettes Chess match.

A dice game in a Jackson, Mississippi park turned deadly when an argument broke out and one of the teenage players started shooting. One of the people he shot was declared dead at the scene; the other was taken to the hospital. The shooter also shot himself in the foot.

Two men robbing a regular afternoon dice game in a Milwaukee alley didn’t hesitate to shoot (one with an assault rifle). Three victims were seriously injured.

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Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesPolice in New Delhi, India arrested a man for replacing cash in an ATM with fake 2,000 Rupee notes he got out of a board game that he had purchased for his nephew. The police were alerted by bank customers who were given currency guaranteed by the “Children’s Bank of India”.

Hasbro has applied for a U.S. trademark on the smell of Play-Doh.

Already banned by FIDE for misfeasance at the Bulgarian Chess Federation and improperly diverting money from Chess tournaments, Silvio Danailov and Vladimir Sakotic have allegedly used illegal means to take over the Serbian Chess Federation and have sent threatening and blackmailing emails to the president and board of the European Chess Union.

Teen siblings, Dorsa and Borna Derakhshan, have been banned by Iran Chess Federation from playing in domestic tournaments and representing the country at international events. Dorsa played at the recent Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival without wearing a hijab. Borna played a game against an Israeli.

A 23 year-old mother in Hong Kong was arrested by police for abandoning her baby (only 18 days old) unattended at her mother’s house so she could go play Mahjong. In consideration of the weeks she already spent in police custody and the support of her family, a magistrate sentenced the mother to just 12 months probation.

The Ningdu County Committee of the Communist Party of China has banned local officials from playing Mahjong. The goal of the order is to combat gambling, though it applies to any occasion, on-duty or off.

Between the two separate Mahjong games police raided in Davao City, Philippines, they arrested 11 people and confiscated gambling money totaling 320 Pesos (no more than $6.50).

A Denver-area high school principal was found guilty of 3rd degree assault for kicking his wife between the legs and punching her in the ribs. The incident occurred after he called her a “cheater” during a game of Backgammon. It’s unclear whether by cheating he was referring to the game or their marriage.

A man and woman were captured on video surveillance shoplifting $400 worth of Magic: The Gathering cards from a Walmart in Potsdam, New York. State police eventually caught the pair when they tried to sell the cards.

The makers of Secret Hitler, a Mafia-like game about the rise of fascism, sent a copy of the game to every member of the United States Senate, thinking maybe the education would do them good.

Sophisticated Games, which owns the rights to the original board game version of Ingenious (also known as Einfach Genial), registered a U.S. trademark for “Ingenious” and began demanding that the game’s designer, Reiner Knizia, pay a royalty for using that name on related game designs. Rather than acquiesce, Knizia has come up with a new name for games in that series—at least the ones for which he has the rights. So for example, there’s AXIO Hexagonal and AXIO Octagonal now available to play online. Under license from Sophisticated Games, though, Thames & Kosmos will be publishing the original in board game form as Ingenious later this year.

For the second month in a row, a car crashed in to a game shop. This time, the incident occurred at the Spielbound board game cafe in Omaha.

Portal Games has had its PayPal accounts frozen pending delivery of First Martians. The bulk of funds in those accounts were for preorders of the game. However, Portal assures customers that the move by PayPal will not interfere with delivery.

First in Parliament, then on Facebook, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar criticized the Leader of the Opposition for skipping a session of Parliament to officiate at a dog show in Brussels. Another MP responded by pointing out that a Government Minister had also missed a session to take part in a Backgammon tournament.

The immediate past president of the Northern Region Chess League in Malawi asserts irregularities in the latest election of officers. He claims that the president of the Chess Association of Malawi, who presided over the balloting, refused to let all local Chess players vote (as required by the organization’s constitution) and instead only accepted the votes of players who had participated in the last tournament.

The resignation of the president of the Japan Shogi Association wasn’t enough for members upset that the group’s leadership had banned a prominent player on suspicion of cheating but without evidence. A no-confidence vote has resulted in the ouster of three more board members.

As with Bridge and Chess, supporters are trying to get Sport England to declare Scrabble a sport.

A New York City police officer visiting the Virtual Crime Information Center for some training recognized the man on a wanted poster as a regular at the Chess tables in Washington Square Park. And so police went to the park and arrested him.

Two of four men in an SUV, who robbed and shot up a Dominoes game taking place in the parking lot of a Houston convenience store, were captured by police following a second incident later the same night.

An argument broke out between two people playing Dominoes in Dolores Park, San Francisco. One slashed the other’s arm with a pocket knife and escaped on-foot.

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